Google has begun to use computer processors its engineers designed to increase the performance of the company’s artificial intelligence software, potentially threatening the businesses of traditional chip suppliers such as Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp.

During the past year, Google has deployed “thousands” of these specialized artificial intelligence chips, called TensorFlow Processing Units (TPUs), in servers within its data centers, said Urs Holzle, the company’s senior vice president of infrastructure, Wednesday at the company’s developer conference. Google declined to specify precisely how many of the chips it’s using, but stressed the company continues to use many typical central processing units and graphics processing units made by other companies.

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